‘Downton Abbey’ movie: Everything you need to know

Downton Abbey will return as a movie.
Downton Abbey will return as a movie.

A feature film of the beloved ITV historical drama is in the works after two years of speculation.

Here’s all you need to know about the Downtown Abbey movie…

Joanne Froggatt shares behind the scenes shot

Joanne Froggatt, who plays Mary Crawley’s loyal maid Anna Bates, has shared a behind the scenes shot on her official Instagram account. The 38-year-old actress tagged the photo ‘Little sneak peek behind the scenes of the Downton movie’ and it appears to show her in Lady Mary Crawley’s bedroom.

Released date confirmed

The release date for the Downton Abbey movie has finally been announced – but we’re afraid it’s going to be a bit of a wait before it hits the big screen.

Focus Features will release the film in the UK and overseas September 13 2019. In North America it will debut September 20 2019.

“Since the series ended, fans of ‘Downton’ have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” said Focus chairman Peter Kujawski.

“We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of ‘Downton’ to the big screen next September,” he added.

Michelle Dockery posts on-set photo

View this post on Instagram

And…we’re off 🎬@downtonabbey_official

A post shared by Michelle Dockery (@theladydockers) on Sep 10, 2018 at 9:01am PDT

Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, confirmed the Downton Abbey movie has begun filming. Posting a photo on-set of the upcoming film Monday 10 September, she captioned the black and white photo with ‘And…we’re off.’

While the photo is deliberately blurred, any Downton fan should be able to tell that the two figures shown are none other than Mr Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan).

Matthew Goode confirms his return

Matthew Goode will return to Downton Abbey (PA Images).
Matthew Goode will return to Downton Abbey (PA Images).

British actor Matthew Goode, who played Mary Crawley’s second husband Henry Talbot, has confirmed he will be appearing in the ‘Downton Abbey’ movie.

Goode, who joined the ITV series from series five, told Radio Times while he is definitely returning, it will only be for a brief spot in the movie adaptation:

“I’m just popping in at the end, which is a nice way to do it,” he said.

We last saw his character Talbot, an entrepreneur and racing car driver, setting up an automobile shop with Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and expecting a child with wife Lady Mary Crawley.

Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James join the cast

Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James announced for Downton Abbey movie. (PA Images)
Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James announced for Downton Abbey movie. (PA Images)

British actresses Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James have been confirmed for the Downton Abbey movie by Focus Features and Carnival Films.

Staunton is set to play Robert Crawley’s cousin in the upcoming film and will be joining her husband and beloved Downton star Jim Carter (Mr. Carson) onscreen.

James’ role in the movie is unclear but given her acting portfolio that includes multiple historical drama series and movies (Anne with an E, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Sherlock Holmes) she should fit right in.

Focus Features and Carnival Films also revealed that principal photography is about to start, and filming will commence on September 10.

Dan Stevens drops a major Downton Abbey bombshell…

There’s been much speculation as to whether Dan Stevens, who played Lady Mary Crawley’s husband Matthew Crawley on the show, will be featured in the movie.

Now a major movie star, having starred in Disney’s mega blockbuster Beauty and the Beast as the ‘Beast’, some fans have wondered whether he is simply too big a name now to return to his ITV roots.

But going by the Instagram post Stevens published on his official account just days ago, it looks like he’s all but confirmed his Downton comeback:

In the post, Stevens appeared next to his Downton Abbey co-star Michelle Dockery (Mary Crawley) and Allen Leech (Tom Branson) with the playful caption, “Should Matthew have a mustache for the #DowntonAbbeyMovie…?”

While of course Stevens could be just messing with us, we’d like to think this is as good as an official confirmation that he will indeed be in the highly anticipated movie adaptation.

What is Downton Abbey about?

Downton Abbey was a historical drama series that aired on ITV between 2010-2015 and across six series. It revolved around the trials and tribulations of the wealthy aristocratic Crawley family and their staff across their sprawling Yorkshire estate.

Covering the period between 1912 and 1925 it included a multitude of family dramas and scandals as well as their reactions to momentous historical events such as the sinking of Titanic, the Spanish influenza, women’s right to vote and World War I. Societal issues were also explored such as the gradual decline of aristocracy and the growth of urbanisation.

A hit with critics and viewers alike, Downton Abbey gained popularity worldwide and earned many awards including 3 Golden Globe Awards, a special BAFTA award and remains the most non-US Emmy nominated show.

When will the Downton Abbey movie be set?

Downton Abbey cast
Downton Abbey cast

An official synopsis of the Downton Abbey movie has yet to be announced. It is assumed that the movie will take off where it left off in 1925. Potential themes include the rise of Nazism and the lead up to World War II, the Wall Street Crash and The Great Depression and the decline of the British Empire.

Read more: 14 plot ideas for the Downton Abbey Movie

The screenplay is being penned by series creator Julian Fellowes, directed by Brian Percival (who directed 6 episodes of Downton Abbey) and will be produced by Carnival Films and distributed by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International.

In a statement Carnival executive and the film’s producer Gareth Neame said:

“When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie, and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production. Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains, and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

Who will return for the Downton Abbey movie?

It is assumed that the majority of the original principal cast of Downton Abbey will return for the motion picture. Indeed to date Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley) and Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates) have confirmed via their social media profiles their returns.

As of now it is assumed that Dame Maggie Smith will reprise her role of fan favourite Dowager Countess Violet Crawley. However, Smith has stated disinterest in returning in past interviews including saying to The Telegraph in 2017 that a Downton movie adaptation would be ‘squeezing it dry.’

Who won’t be returning for the movie?

Downton Abbey Lily James
Lily James won’t be returning to Downton Abbey

We can confirm that Lily James will not be reprising her role as Lady Rose MacClare in the movie adaptation. Lily recently told PEOPLE that it wouldn’t make sense for her character to return:

“My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back.”

“I would have loved to have come back for a scene, but for a movie it can’t be like a Christmas special and it needs to be a focused storyline,” Lily said.

Read more: Lily James reveals there’s ‘no room’ for her in Downton movie

When is the Downton Abbey film out?

The Downton Abbey movie was formerly announced on the series official Twitter on July 13, the Tweet included an image of a butler holding an invitation on a silver platter, which read: ‘We cordially invite you to return to Downton Abbey. Only in Cinemas.’

While the movie doesn’t have an official release date yet, given that filming is slated to begin this summer, we should expect it to drop sometime between summer and end of 2019.

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